Ceiling? Or Sanders?
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2023-05-25 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Federal Government , 362 references Ignore this thread
Ceiling? Or Sanders?
[Comments enabled]

Bernie is out making a stink about the debt ceiling being a matter of our "priorities" as a society -- once again.

He continues to persist in the claim that we can just tax rich people more and solve it.

He's lying.

Look folks, this really is quite simple: The problem is that the price of these services has exorbitantly ramped driven by multiple factors.

CMS is responsible for all of it.

One trillion dollars, approximately, of the total 3.6 trillion spent since October 1st has been in that department and only about $400 billion has been received in taxes to offset it.

That's the problem, in short, and may I remind you that last year this department spent two trillion of the roughly six in total -- and not very long ago, in fact just a few short years ago, CMS spent $500 billion a year -- one quarter of what is spent now.

Just ten years ago CMS spent half what it spends today.

I recognized this problem -- and what it would do to the Federal Budget -- when I was running MCSNet in the 1990s.  It featured prominently in Leverage and on a continuing basis, which forms the basis for this article -- a proposal to permanently resolve the problem.

There has been zero political debate over an actual resolution.  Not one.  Bernie's railing about prescription drugs sounds like part of it, but its not.  Why not?  Because there's no need for laws to be passed; it has been illegal for more than 100 years to collude in restraint of trade or price fixing.

How does passing something else address willful refusal to enforce the law by both political parties?

We either address this or the rest does not matter.  Bernie's screed is nothing new and parts of it were put in place by Obamacare, which contrary to the claims Obama and others made it didn't resolve it -- it in fact made it worse.


All these "programs" abstract out the consequences of personal decisions away and, much worse, enable organized grift that drives deliberate inefficiency, price-rigging and worse.

These are difficult discussions -- but we have to have them and resolve this or we will descend into an Argentina-style Hell and, as has been seen in other places where this has occurred a nation does not recover from it once it occurs.

We're out of time folks.

And one of the primary changes that has to happen now is the outright fraud by both sides of the aisle on so-called "budget impact" that they all claim over 10 years time, yet exactly zero changes are binding over more than one year.

Thus the first change is that all claims must be made in the context of the current single year impact, and only that year.  Forward, unenforceable claims must be barred.

Can we get even that small change?

 I doubt it.

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Comments on Ceiling? Or Sanders?
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Msbeaty 24 posts, incept 2022-10-01
2023-05-25 08:20:14

There are so few places to read information that simplifies things this greatly. The sad part, is that it does not take a deep thinker to get to the conclusions you have. Just as with a household budget, if you were looking to balances to income, a good place to start would be one of the biggest categories of expenses. As a country, we do the opposite. We look to small symbolic "tribal" victories, such as cutting the pay of the 535 people making decisions. While I agree they do not deserve to be paid or even have their position for that matter, this is nothing but a stunt to buy voters. Structural fixes to true problems don't make for good campaign slogans or resonate with the average voters, so they are basically dead on arrival.

I saw an article yesterday from the GAO talking about the DOD loosing track of 85 million dollars in parts for the F-35 fighter. While this is bureaucratic incompetence on full display and could have some national security implications, the money was the newsworthy part of the report that grabbed headlines. Yes, issues like this need to be fixed, but this amount is almost trivial when compared to the CMS issues.

Ckaminski 6k posts, incept 2011-04-08
2023-05-25 08:23:26

Sanders. Yet another grofter who's never had a real job in his life.
Tonythetiger 855 posts, incept 2019-01-27
2023-05-25 08:23:35

Tickerguy wrote..
One trillion dollars, approximately, of the total 3.6 trillion spent since October 1st has been in that department and only about $400 billion has been received in taxes to offset it.

I bet they plan to make it up in volume. Yeah ... that's the ticket.

"War is when the Government tells you who the bad guy is. Revolution is when you decide that for yourself." - Benjamin Franklin
Neal 317 posts, incept 2014-01-09
2023-05-25 08:23:54

I agree with Bernie. Tax the rich!
Anyone who owns more than one modest house should have the others seized. Anyone with a pension balance higher than the median should have that excess seized and anyone with over a million net worth should have that excess siezed.
Starting with Bernies 4 houses and multi million dollar wealth and then everyone in government past and present.
Socialism is great when you get to steal everyone elses productivity and savings. That is why there is the 31 trillion debt and horrendous taxes.
Dingleberry 721 posts, incept 2011-11-06
2023-05-25 08:24:00

Just got my car insurance bill this morning. It's up 30% this year alone. Last year it went up 25%.
No speeding tickets or wrecks.....nothing changed. Only the premiums.

I expect similar when my homeowners comes due. Last two years it went up about 50% in total.

I use insurance as an inflationary guide because there are several economic and other factors that confluence into the total cost. And unlike eggs, lumber, etc. these costs only go one way and stay one way: up. And cannot be manipulated, massaged and/or hidden like the "basket" of goods that is intentionally pushed downwards by the gov and the fed. With malice and forethought.

Inflation is the tax everyone reading this is going to pay as the debt ceiling debate is really not a debate. It's only a matter of how much do we raise, and who pays. The answer is obvious to me, and judging by history.....we all will pay: via the inflation tax.

We are now at a place currency-wise where the price of a new car was the price of a house when I was a kid. The house I was raised in cost $40k brand new.

And there is no way the karens, hood rats, boomers, progressive free-shit-for-everybody types, and so on will ever willingly tolerate loss of gov cheese. Ain't happening. This leaves one alternative.

The inflation tax is what you will pay, along with your regular taxes. You will get it in both ends. Actually three....You will pay higher costs, and higher taxes for even less services or goods.

But this is the price of "freee!!" and easy gov money. The thieving masses voted for gov "help" in paying for medical care, housing, and education. The results are obvious. And horrendous. But there is no turning back now.

Calrissian 162 posts, incept 2021-04-12
2023-05-25 08:58:17

'And there is no way the karens, hood rats, boomers, progressive free-shit-for-everybody types, and so on will ever willingly tolerate loss of gov cheese. Ain't happening. This leaves one alternative.' - Dingleberry

I'd place the boomers at the front of that list.

Regardless... the alternative... is on the menu.
Bikemechanicdeux 1k posts, incept 2020-03-29
2023-05-25 08:58:24

Bernie is a communist and his wife. He has been since he was young. When they married they honeymooned in then Soviet Russia, and there are photos to prove it.

Bernie is well trained in language to make shit sell, ergo capitalism BAD, socialism good. He uses capitalism and I suspect use of inside knowledge to gain riches like all good head communist. Unbridled Capitalism is an issue, but most of that is fraud and use of the system at all levels.

Saul and Bernie be like bros man.

When Trapped Attack
Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action
Where there is smoke there is fire
Cmoledor 2k posts, incept 2021-04-13
2023-05-25 09:21:45

It should be painfully obvious they have no intentions of enforcing law. Ever. Not against the chosen groups anyway. You and I ?? We go to the big house. Fuck this farce of a gubmint.

The whole world is one big fucking scam
Full throttle till the end. Ocdawg
Take the stick you tried to beat me with and go fuck your own face. Ishmael
Greenacr 804 posts, incept 2016-03-15
2023-05-25 09:21:52

The can will be kicked until we are out of road.

The debt ceiling drama is an example of how the government will deal with the CMS problem. It will only happen when the Math comes home to roost.
Spaceace 185 posts, incept 2019-05-09
2023-05-25 10:21:21

"These are difficult discussions -- but we have to have them and resolve this or we will descend into an Argentina-style Hell and, as has been seen in other places where this has occurred a nation does not recover from it once it occurs."

Given our demographics and state of infrastructure, I am thinking more like South Africa, at least in the blue cities.
Larryboy 459 posts, incept 2012-12-29
2023-05-25 10:21:28

Dingleberry said
The house I was raised in cost $40k brand new.

In 1974 I bought a 50 year old house in Midland TX for $17k. As a newly graduated engineer I was making $1,275 per month and thought I was rich. Two years later sold it for $33k. Inflation?
Smacktle 8k posts, incept 2009-01-20
2023-05-25 10:33:46

ANNNNND, we will do nothing about it.

My wife is trying to work locally to make a difference and facing nothing but resistance. I still refuse to support the Republican party. Schools, .gov and municipalities all want more money. Their greed is insatiable.

I yearn for the end to all this but have found my peace. Big props to Karl for continuing to fight the good fight and educate all of us.

Use your Ticker Balls
Jkcarter3599 14 posts, incept 2022-11-01
2023-05-25 10:34:01

"We're out of time folks."

I'm pretty sure we've been out of time for a long time. I don't know when the tipping point was passed. Sometimes I think it was when Soetoro was reelected. Sometimes I think it was 9/11. Sometimes I think it was when Bush I was "elected". Sometimes I think it was 1964 when the Civil Rights Act was passed, or maybe, 1965 when the "new, improved" Immigration Act was passed. Sometimes I think it was when the Federal Reserve Act was passed, along with the 16th Amendment, followed by the 17th Amendment (loss of State control of Senator selection), and the 19th Amendment (women allowed to vote) in 1920. And then, sometimes, I think it was when the South was conquered. And since the Posterity isn't going to enforce the 1st and 2nd Amendments, it's not going to get any easier. No, things won't change until the White man doesn't have enough to eat. Then, he'll have nothing left to lose. But, given how each subsequent generation has smaller balls than the previous one, I don't know if it will make any difference.
Tappedout 279 posts, incept 2020-09-21
2023-05-25 10:50:24

I don't doubt it. I know it will never happen.

An old video, but still relevant:


Gonewest 3k posts, incept 2015-02-26
2023-05-25 11:06:38

Our political rulers are great at projecting fear onto the populace. Until they feel some actual fear themselves, the ongoing state of affairs will persist. Perhaps the issue of satellite phones to senators shows that fear levels my be starting to rise. But until the population is willing to instill a level of fear that results in meaningful change, the status quo will persist.

Footnote: fear does not necessarily equate to bodily harm.

Hollywood tells us what to do. Why should we listen to people who ACT for a living?
Imustbenutz 344 posts, incept 2010-11-04
2023-05-25 11:23:03

CMS has been a problem since it was made law in 1965. The chart of medical costs clearly shows the upward trend launched shortly after the Medicare Act was signed into law once and the medical industrial complex learned how to profit from the suffering of others.

As an example of the grift, I recently aged in to Medicare and for my 5 year post cancer annual MRI screening, CMS was billed for over $4k. The same MRI cost less than $800 for the last 4 years as a self pay client.

Smb14 29 posts, incept 2021-08-31
2023-05-25 11:38:20

Reason: Found my answer
Lewfalo 54 posts, incept 2023-03-09
2023-05-25 11:48:10

Like an addict, society will have to hit rock bottom first. Mathematics dictates that's not far off. At least we will never have to hear about "Build Back Better", the "Green New Deal", or the "New Normal" ever again.

Thankfully their victories from 2020-2022 were very temporary, and all this crap about "covid has given us a unique opportunity, and we are never going back" was all just bluster of a dying, sick tyrant. Heck, they might actually still think they are in charge now, because Ceausescu was still trying to bark out orders right up until the firing squad.

None of these WEF young leaders, or corporate stakeholder capitalists will have a normal lifespan.
K5555 149 posts, incept 2021-04-18
2023-05-25 11:48:14

Msbeaty, that is not new. A similar thing happened with the F-22. The machine tools and instructions needed to restart the assembly line disappeared. My guess, without any knowledge whatsoever, is that they ended up in China. We are being looted everywhere you look, and even where you do not.
Air Force maintainers needed to build a particular component from scratch to replace a severely damaged part for an F-22. The crews went into the Conex boxes where the tooling and instructions to build the part were allegedly stored, but to their considerable surprise and aggravation, the container was empty. The same pattern repeated itself several times, and as of the last time the source checked, the issue remains unresolved.


Fight like you are the third monkey on the ramp to Noah's Ark and it is starting to rain.
Lewfalo 54 posts, incept 2023-03-09
2023-05-25 11:48:51


The Whiskey Rebellion was the first hint that it was over. People just fought a war to get from under the thumb of a tyrant, just to be taxed even more than they were under that tyrant in order to "pay the war debt". I read Gary North many decades ago, he was the first person I ever read that suggested that the Convention itself was indeed a betrayal of 1776.
Poorsaver 523 posts, incept 2008-05-20
2023-05-25 11:56:42

At the core of the problem is the business model of the medical system. It is designed to treat and not cure. Treating gives a lifetime of tests, drugs, consultations, etc. Curing is a single billing.

Google various diseases and you will be amazed at how many say no known cure, only treatment. That is not by chance. When I was a kid growing up in the sixties I remember seeing on the teevee the cure for cancer was right around the corner. I doubt I will see it in my lifetime. There is no money in it, just like Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine, as a recent example.

Personally, I will not feed the beast. Try to live as healthy as I can, only participate in the medical scam for trauma like injuries, and try to tune out the political sycophants as much as possible.

"I'm going to need a hacksaw"----Jack Bauer
"You can get killed walking your doggie!"----Vincent Hanna
K5555 149 posts, incept 2021-04-18
2023-05-25 12:14:01

Bernie reminds me of the old joke,
Leonid Brezhnev was showing off his mansion, his country house, his limousine, and his helicopter to his mother. But, instead of being impressed, she looked worried, and asked, "But Leonid, what if the communists come back?"

Fight like you are the third monkey on the ramp to Noah's Ark and it is starting to rain.
Neal 317 posts, incept 2014-01-09
2023-05-25 12:48:22

I/T but need to shut down a common misconception about evil Big Pharma withholding a cure for cancer, probably also applies to other diseases and cures as well.
@ Poorsaver, gotta disagree about a cancer cure not being profitable. If they have a cure for cancer in all its forms then the profits would be in the trillions if not tens of trillions. There are over 100 million people on this planet who are millionaires and every year a few million either get a potentially deadly cancer themselves or their child/spouse/parent/sibling does. Think they wouldnt pay a few hundred thousand to cure that loved one? Think they couldnt have made billions saving Steve Jobs or get an amazing hold over government or the Supremes by curing Bobby Kennedy, McCain, Ginsberg or other movers and shakers?
And as evil as the heads of Big Pharma are I doubt they would not welcome a cure for cancer as the majority of them will have had a loved one die of cancer and likely fear getting it themselves.
Indianarube 1k posts, incept 2020-03-22
2023-05-25 12:58:12

Over a decade ago a blogger named Iowahawk had an article titled "Eat The Rich". Bill Wittle (sp?) expounded on it in video form. He covers the monitary part, not the CMS.

Karl has been right for over a decade.
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